AAR reports annual gains for U.S. rail carload and intermodal volumes

Rail carloads in April headed up 3.3%, or 34,020 carloads, to 1,051,026 carloads, compared to April 2017, and intermodal containers and trailers increased by 5.1%, or 103,650 units, to 2,150,026.

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United States rail carload and intermodal volumes were solid in April, according to data issued this week by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Rail carloads in April headed up 3.3%, or 34,020 carloads, to 1,051,026 carloads, compared to April 2017.

The AAR added that for the month 15 of the 20 rail carload commodity categories it tracks saw gains, including: crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 8,466 carloads or 8.6%; coal, up 7,337 carloads or 2.4%; and grain, up 5,305 carloads or 5.7%. Commodities that saw declines in April 2018 from April 2017 included: nonmetallic minerals, down 2,513 carloads or 13%; waste & nonferrous scrap, down 1,056 carloads or 7.1%; and primary forest products, down 651 carloads or 14.6%.

AAR added that when removing coal carloads in April rose 26,683 carloads, or 3.8%, annually, and when removing coal and grain, April carloads were up 21,378 carloads, or 3.5%.

“Total U.S. rail traffic so far this year is a shade below where it was in 2015, but otherwise is higher than it’s been in the last ten years” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement. “Additionally, 15 of the 20 commodity categories we track had higher carloads in April 2018 than in April 2017, the most since January 2015. That’s good news for railroads and good news for the economy.”

Intermodal containers and trailers increased by 5.1%, or 103,650 units, to 2,150,026.

Through the first four months of 2017, the AAR said that U.S. rail carloads were up 0.6%, or 23,993 carloads, to 4,347,225, and intermodal units headed up 5.8%, or 250,934 units, to 4,595381. 

For the week ending April 28, AAR said U.S. rail carloads were up 3.7% to 266,453, and intermodal units saw an 8.1% increase to to 285,045. 


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